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Finding the Green

Can Hamptons homeowners squeeze U.S. open tourists for a huge week’s rent? It’s a long shot.



Just when you think the East End’s traffic and real-estate madness couldn’t possibly get any worse, a third plague descends: golf. When the U.S. Open returns to Shinnecock Hills starting June 17, it’s expected to bring in an extra 40,000 people per day, in a Hamptons season that’s already looking more spirited than the past two. (The tournament hasn’t been here since 1995.) So the duffers will be camped on lawns, overpaying for spare rooms, sleeping in the sand traps—right?

Not so fast. Against all Hamptons convention, overambitious renters are finding themselves in the rough. Rents are maxing out around $2,000 per bedroom for the week—pricey, but far from usurious. Take the Upper East Side couple who were asking $10,000 for their four-bedroom house. The wife especially wants out: “I want to ditch the house and go to Europe.” Her Wall Streeter husband first called the USGA, which has booked 200 houses for its players, but it won’t go over $5,000 a week, even for the celebrities. (“Tiger’s staying at a private residence” is all a spokesman says.) “You can certainly make more than what the USGA is paying,” the homeowner says. “We don’t need to give up our house for that.” Now they’re trying to rent it for the whole season (at $50,000).

Prudential Douglas Elliman and Corcoran’s Southampton offices say they’ve each rented about a dozen homes to golfers, though “there’s not a stampede,” admits Prudential’s Jay Flagg. One of his clients was asking $10,000 for the Open week; Flagg had to tell him “it’s more like $3,000 to $4,500,” about the same as he’d get for any week. The few big rentals have been to corporations, adds Robin Blackley of Century 21 Agawam Albertson, who’s done about 30 such deals. “All of the heavy hitters have sewn up their rentals, and now I think the general public will be looking,” she says, adding that she’s inundated by owners who want to make a killing, but with few takers.

Owners are hanging their hopes on one last fact: Most of the area’s hotels are booked. David Waksman, who owns the Atlantic, Bentley, and Capri hotels, says he’s been fielding calls for three years and has a 700-person waiting list (he’s holding out for a corporate deal). The USGA, meanwhile, took the entire Southampton Inn. “We’re one of the only hotels that isn’t sold out,” says Waksman. That can’t last—leaving homeowners teed up to make a deal. —Deborah Schoeneman

Have You Seen Her Lately?
Carly Simon’s moving day nears.
Carly Simon may have been rejected by the Dakota’s board last year for proposing an added bathroom in the apartment she wanted, but she’s just settled in downtown. The singer recently closed on a pair of adjacent apartments—1,300 square feet, tin ceilings, exposed brick—on Commerce Street in the West Village, paying $1.2 million. Broker Hunie Kwon of JC DeNiro & Associates refused to comment; Simon’s manager denies that the sale has happened, saying only “she is looking.”

HOUSE OF STYLE: The estate of the celebrity makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin has finally sold his apartment, which had been on and off the market since his death at 40 two years ago. An unnamed buyer paid $1.12 million for the 1,200-square-foot duplex with a garden at 436 West 23rd Street, across from the office where Aucoin’s father is running his son’s business. Elliman brokers Arlene Groder and Linda Gottlieb declined to comment. —D.S.

Big Deals
72 Reade Street
3-bed, 2.5-bath, 3,400-square-foot condo. Ask: $2,700,000. Sell: $2,500,000. Charges and taxes: $2,390. Time on market: Four months.
“When the seller bought the place five years ago, there was a porno shop right down the block!” says Douglas Elliman executive vice-president Iva Spitzer. “The neighborhood has definitely changed.” And so has the apartment. Thanks to major renovations, this prewar loft has new tin ceilings, a marble Jacuzzi, and a working fireplace—not to mention a huge terrace.

Greenwich Village
808 Broadway
2-bed, 2-bath, 1,400-square-foot co-op. Ask: $1,450,000. Sell: $1,175,000. Charges and taxes: $2,240. Time on market: Four months.
Corcoran broker Brian Rice represented Jodi Della Femina (daughter of adman turned restaurateur Jerry) and her husband, John Kim, as they bought this central-Village penthouse with a terrace overlooking Grace Church and sold her old walk-up on the Upper East Side. “Jodi’s a writer, so I asked her if she liked Caleb Carr, because the team of private eyes in The Alienist worked out of 808 Broadway,” says Rice. “She thought it was meant to be.” The seller had already purchased a new place a few blocks up and was primed to move fast, so—in Rice’s words—“the price was just sensational.” —Sara Cardace


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